Sunday 5 June 2022

Blogjune Day 5 - Now though we're all here, we're not all there!

Today's question: What have you learned about yourself as the result of the pandemic?

To get us in the mood, let's sing along to this modern classic:

This current pandemic (and I feel like I need to keep reminding everybody that it's still going) has challenged me in new ways - in particular, adjusting to working-from-home conditions when required.

The thing that actually surprised me was: I really don't enjoy working from home.

There were plenty of things that I missed:
  • A comfortable work environment with adequate heating / air conditioning, lighting, and insulation from outside noise (such as leaf blowers and 7am-4pm construction work).
  • Regular social and work-related in-person interactions with colleagues. Whether it's getting somebody to sense-check an idea or piece of work, chatting about common interests, or taking a break to wander down to the cafe together, it's these interactions which can make all the difference in a workplace.
  • The variable nature of a standard in-person job, whether it's at your desk, in a meeting room, attending a presentation, travelling to different sites.
  • Interacting with clients and visitors in person - professional relationship-building takes a whole different skill-set when you're doing it via email or teleconference, and I realised that I'm much better at connecting with people when I'm looking them in the eye.
  • Space in my domestic relationship. I'd only moved in together with my partner a couple of months earlier, and was still adjusting. Cohabiting whilst working at home full-time could be a challenge, and we needed to find ways to work around one another.
  • The ability to physically leave work at the end of the work day. My work space was my home space, and as much as I tried to create effective boundaries, I realised that I was not actually good at this. The simple acts of switching off the computer at the end of the day, turning off the light and leaving the room - never happened.
  • The commute to and from work. I realise that I'm the outlier on this one, but riding my bike to and from work has been a constant for me over the many years that I've been working, and removing that from my daily routine had an impact.
Of course, I realise that there are plenty of people who really enjoyed working from home, and that the pandemic finally created the opportunity for them to find new and productive ways of working that worked better for them.

And of course, during the current pandemic, we need to uphold measures to keep each other safe.

But to choose to work at home in physical isolation is just not for me. Even when, in the past, I've worked on personal projects, I've almost always done this in a non-domestic space, such as a cafe, library or public park.

I enjoy moving through a living world of people, whether it's travelling through the chaos of traffic, dancing in the thrum of a crowd at a live music performance, sitting amongst an engaged audience at the theatre or in a conference session, watching a library reading room full of people searching, studying and delving into their work. I love watching people, observing each person's unique traits, and then getting to know and understand them through their through their stories and questions.

I've often considered myself something of an introvert, but the thing that I really learned about myself is that I actually thrive on being in proximity to others as we continue to move through this world.

No comments:

Post a Comment